United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regularly releases reports on the extent of climate change. The latest report, from March 2022, on Mitigation of Climate Change contains dismal news and simple steps to counteract the rise of greenhouse levels. Compared to all human history, greenhouse gas levels were at their highest between 2010 and 2019. The recent excessive flooding has also been ascribed to climate change.
At the same time, the variety of solutions to climate change are on the increase and becoming cheaper. These rely on ‘collective changes to behaviour and lifestyle’. Sixty lifestyle changes were analysed for the report, and the most efficient was found to be walking, the second being cycling and the third was the usage of electrified transport. Walking and cycling enable not only a healthier planet but also a healthier society. Although this sounds rather obvious, it is still only the minority, also here in Stellenbosch, that commute by walking and cycling.
As reported in previous newsletters, our cities and larger towns are still geared towards car-centric transport. Systemic changes galvanized by policies and urban design should enable this switch to walking and cycling. This can be done by implementing more bicycle lanes, car-free zones and establishing more green spaces. People-centred urban design will encourage a collective change of behaviour to counter climate change, so we refrain from sleepwalking into a climate change catastrophe, as described so aptly by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
To read more on this report, visit the Inverse website at https://www.inverse.com/science/new-un-report-reveals-climate-change-everyday-action